Back to School at Your Front Door
‘School’ Arrives at Front Door of Hundreds of Families as Education Home Visiting Gains Popularity
Home Instruction for Parents of Preschool Youngsters Begins New Programs in Four States
WASHINGTON, D.C.—As school bells ring across the country, doorbells will also be ringing as trained home visitors, specializing in reading and math skills, expand their footprint. The national nonprofit Home Instruction for Parents of Preschool Youngsters (HIPPY USA) is adding new programs this fall in Texas, Nevada, North Carolina and Florida.
HIPPY, an evidence-based initiative, involves home visitors who deliver 30 weeks of high-quality school readiness curriculum activities and books to parents who qualify based on income requirements. The parents then work each day on the lessons with their three-, four- and five-year-old children.
HIPPY currently serves 15,000 families across 22 states and the District of Columbia. The new programs are in San Antonio and Wichita County, Tex,; Raleigh, N.C.; Elko, Nev.; and 10 sites in Florida, including Miami-Dade.
“Our collaboration and partnership with HIPPY USA is a dream come true for our heavily impacted military school district. Now, we have a proven home-based preschool education program that will bridge the communication lines between parents facing socioeconomic barriers and our public schools,” says Danny W. Taylor, superintendent, Burkburnett Independent School District in Wichita County.
The HIPPY expansion in three of the states is supported by federal and state funds. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has stated that HIPPY meets the rigorous criteria set for funding under the federal Maternal, Infant and Early Childhood Home Visiting Program.
Twenty years of research, conducted in the U.S. and eight other countries, has shown the HIPPY model to be effective in improving school readiness, parent involvement, school attendance, classroom behavior, standardized test scores and academic performance.
Washington State Institute for Public Policy research found that every dollar invested in HIPPY yields $1.80 in benefits.
“I applaud supporters of these new efforts for investing in a program with a track record of delivering results to taxpayers,” says Linda Frank, board chair, HIPPY USA. “America is falling behind in the education race, and experts say it’s a threat to our economy. HIPPY is an important way to help prepare for the future.”
In Florida, HIPPY already operates in 11 communities, and it will add 10. The Florida Department of Education’s Office of Early Learning has allocated $2.5 million for the HIPPY expansion in 2014–15 in addition to $1.4 million for the existing programs.
In Nevada, the Elko HIPPY program will be the second one in the state, joining one in Las Vegas. The Annie E. Casey Foundation’s “Kids Count” report recently ranked Nevada as last in the country based on education metrics for children. HIPPY aims to do its part to improve this situation.
In Texas, HIPPY already operates 10 programs across the state. In the new program in Wichita County, 15 percent of the families will be from Sheppard Air Force Base. The San Antonio HIPPY program will include six home visitors, serving 90 families, in the Eastside Promise Neighborhood.
The North Carolina program will be the first for the state. It will primarily focus on Southeast Raleigh neighborhoods as well as some other parts of Wake County. The effort will include a unique focus on fathers and the important role they play with their children in early learning.
“My 11-year-old daughter has skipped one grade and always makes the honor roll. … I am convinced it’s because HIPPY gave her the boost she needed,” says Erica Black, a D.C. mother who has participated in the effort. “Being a mom doesn’t come with a pamphlet. … That’s why I really appreciated HIPPY. It was like receiving help from a family member.”
All HIPPY programs share four core components:
- A standard developmentally appropriate school readiness curriculum,
- Role-play as method of instruction,
- Peer home visitors, and
- Home visiting as the service delivery method.
Home Instruction for Parents of Preschool Youngsters USA programs (www.hippyusa.org) focus on family literacy, school readiness and parent involvement. HIPPY helps parents prepare their preschool children to succeed in school. Currently, 135 HIPPY programs in 21 states and the District of Columbia serve 15,000 families.